It’s 2014! With that comes a brand new list of resolutions to live up to. But have you considered adding “Be More Courageous” to your list? And by courage, I don’t mean the kind where you finally work up the nerve to squish a gross spider all by yourself. I’m talking about having the courage to be kinder to yourself, to face your deepest insecurities (not just spiders), and to stand up for what’s right in your life.
Make Yourself a Priority
In his blog post “If You Don’t Prioritize Your Life, Someone Else Will,” business writer Greg McKeown urges us to find the courage to make decisions that are good for us, even if they are hard decisions to make. Too often we make the wrong choice; we say “yes” when we mean “no” simply to avoid social awkwardness. We are so anxious to please other people that we forget about standing up for ourselves. We also tend to cram ourselves in the “I have to” box: “I have to work this weekend” or “I have to go to that event.” We convince ourselves we have no power to take an alternative route.
McKeown suggests these three ways to reprioritize our lives:
- Separate the decision from the relationship- these two are not interconnected. All we have to decide is “What is the right decision?” and then “How can I communicate this as kindly as possible?”.
- Replace “I have to” with “I choose to.”
- Avoid working for or with people who don’t respect our priorities
Ultimately, the only person who understands your needs best and can make the right decisions for your life is…you! Sometimes it feels like the safest route is to put your own needs on the back burner and to make others your priority. As altruistic as that is, it’s not practical, sustainable, or even enviable. It’s great to help out others, but not at the expense of your personal life, well-being, or happiness. It’s hard telling people “no,” but if you can find the courage, resolve this year to make yourself a priority.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, discusses finding the courage to become vulnerable in Brené Brown’s interview. Vulnerability plays a big role in dealing with relationships, criticism, and creativity. Gilbert claims that vulnerability is all about “keeping the conversation open.” With relationships, sometimes the only way to make it work is to become emotionally open, to make yourself vulnerable. It takes a lot of courage to break down your walls and deal with fear and discomfort, but that courage has a huge payoff. Gilbert points out that the alternative to facing our fears is “to live a hard-hearted, locked-down, resentful and unforgiving life.” Who wants that?
Gilbert also discusses finding the courage to live her life of creativity, despite both internal and external criticism.
Gilbert’s solution to overcoming her fears? Love. She says, “If I focus on the love and the gratitude that I feel toward the work itself, then I get slightly less freaky and worried about the results.” Have the courage to follow your passion and make it your goal this year to continue doing what you love, even if that means facing a few insecurities. Gilbert, like McKeown, also suggests avoiding the critics:
“You have absolutely nothing to learn from the comments of mean, unhappy, critical people who know and care nothing about your soul or your life.”
Don’t surround yourself with people constantly trying to bring you down; instead, be with people who support you and make it easier to face your fears.
Be a Lioness
Resolving to be courageous is more than a goal, it’s an attitude change that will allow you to take care of yourself, to do the right thing for your life, and to accept fear in order to open yourself up. Challenge your fears everyday, and live life how you want to live it.
So, how do you resolve to be more courageous? Share your comments and opinions below!